Our first in-park meal was lunch at Walt’s – An American Restaurant, which Imagineer Eddie Sotto says was designed to be like a Club 33 that anyone can experience. Since the Club 33 we knew and loved has been remade into a New Orleanian TGI Fridays, I was excited to recapture the old feeling at Walt’s.
Walt’s shares an address with Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, CA.
Here’s what’s actually at 1401 Flower Street…
Out of habit, we booked our lunch at Walt’s for noon, the first seating that day. Now I wish I’d done a little more research. For one thing, it was so bright out that the contrast from the windows made it really difficult to photograph the dim Victorian interior of the second floor. Also, it turned out that only a few of the seating areas were open at that hour, and if we’d arrived even 45 minutes later, we could’ve been seated in what turned out to be my favorite room. But the top tip I later got from a helpful DISer is that you can watch the parade from Walt’s if you time it right! Then again, with our luck on this trip, they would’ve seated us in a back room instead of at the primo table we did get overlooking Main Street, U.S.A.
Walt’s was designed to introduce Europeans to Walt Disney’s life story through photos and memorabilia found in the lobby and stairwell.
Every time I see a mechanical bird at Disney, I wonder if THAT is the one Walt brought home from New Orleans that inspired AudioAnimatronics. But there was no mention of it in Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality, so I’m thinking this ain’t it…
You can take the elevator or the stairs… The elevator isn’t quite as fancy as the one in Club 33 was, but it’s up there!
The photos in the stairwell depict Walt’s rise to fame and lead you to the host station and upper elevator lobby.
Each of the rooms upstairs is themed to a different land at Disneyland Paris. I wish you got to pick which one you sit in, but like any restaurant, they only open areas as they need them. The rooms are arranged in a ring around the central core so that each one has windows onto Main Street, U.S.A. or Flower Street.
We were seated in the Main Street, U.S.A. room, which seemed to have the least theming but also the most seats with views of its namesake street.
The Frontierland room has sculptures by Remington on the mantel (not pictured) and perhaps THE swaggiest swagged draperies in the entire park.
The Discoveryland Room is an Art Nouveau fantasy. Apparently the mantel carvings depict smoke curling upward.
This shot looks through to the host station at the top of the stairs, if you’re trying to get your bearings.
My absolute favorite room was Adventureland. The colors! The fixtures! The detail! The sun dappling the carpet!
However, this room only looks out on Flower Street, so if you are hoping to watch the parade, you’re going to want to be in Discoveryland, Main Street, U.S.A. or Frontierland.
Tucked behind Adventureland is the Fantasyland room. It is not my taste, but I appreciate how elaborate the theming is.
On display are original maquettes used when designing attractions at Disneyland Paris.
Not pictured—and I could’ve sworn I took a picture—is the weirdly grotty ladies’ room. It’s like opening the door in Club 33 and stepping into one of Epcot’s oldest, most neglected restrooms. No theming. The light over the sink was burned out, the tile was cracked and dirty, and it smelled like mildew. Very weird…
But let’s talk about lunch! The menu says some of the dishes are modern versions of Walt’s favorite foods (yet no chili?!).
We could’ve split an entree and probably didn’t need appetizers at all, but we wanted to try lots of things to show you, Dear Reader! Patrick did the two-course Walt’s menu and I ordered a la carte so I could get exactly what I wanted.
“Lobster bisque cream, smoked sweet corn and sorghum emulsion with tomato powder.” It was pretty good!
“Classic Caesar salad: romaine lettuce, croutons, marinated anchovies, Parmesan tuile and shavings.” Patrick declared this pretty good as well.
Patrick had the “Free-range Label Rouge Chicken Breast, Thanksgiving stuffing, sweet potato mash and giblet gravy,” which he said tasted like it was conceived by someone who had no idea what a Thanksgiving meal was supposed to taste like. The stuffing had a particularly weird texture, apparently.
I had the “Free-range pork chop at the perfect temperature with a Barbecue sauce, ‘Mac and cheese’ and asparagus.” The pork was way overcooked—not that unusual for a Disney restaurant, but when you call something “pork cooked to the perfect temperature” you’d better have it at the perfect temperature!
The quotes around “mac and cheese” should have tipped me off… It was a masterwork of construction but tasted like plain noodles held together with paste and the barest hint of cheese flavor in this, the land of amazing cheese!
For dessert I had the “Chocolate cake with tonka bean ganache and cocoa nibs crispy biscuit,” which was good in the generic way of most fancy restaurant desserts.
Nothing we had was horrible, it just wasn’t all that memorable or worth what we were paying. My advice at Walt’s – An American Restaurant is to get the cheapest thing on the menu and just go for the atmosphere (but ladies should try to “go” before they get there, perhaps at a restroom with a smiley-face rating system!)
We certainly enjoyed our view of Main Street, U.S.A. It distracted us from the litany of “Closed” labels in the Disneyland Paris app as we tried to plan our post-lunch itinerary.
We finally decided to nip back to our room for a little break before diving back into Disneyland Paris for the day. Along the way we saw….
Patrick went around to the front of the hotel to take some shots from Fantasia Gardens.
Is that…. a one-eared bunny?
Oh wait—this one’s a dancing hippo, so that must’ve been an alligator!
I’ll leave you with this highly professional and fact-filled video of Disneyland Paris in the snow…